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Text Based Evidence

Welcome to the second post of Smashing Strategies for Guided Reading, a monthly-link up between 8 teacher bloggers! Each of us will share a guided reading strategy, a teaching tip, and sometimes a freebie! Each month, you’ll have the chance to win a product relevant to each different strategy we blogged about! Time to build up those guided reading resources!  

Teachers everywhere hear "Common Core" and cringe... It can be so intimidating having to teach something new! After attending several workshops, I have yet to drink the cool-aid, so to speak... But I am a fan of teaching kids at an early age to find TEXT BASED EVIDENCE. As a primary school teacher, too often children are merely reading words, not reading for comprehension. You may have heard me rave about my school district before, and the incredible PD they have offered. One of the most beneficial PD workshops I ever attended was when 2nd and 3rd grade teachers sat down and talking about learning gaps... We found out our 2nd graders were not able to find text based evidence when they got to 3rd so it's been a big shift in my guided reading groups!

There are two different ways in which I teach finding text based evidence. The first is using sticky notes. In our third day of guided reading (2 read, 1 write) we always write about what we read. I give my students a few short questions to respond to in their Readers Notebooks and then give them a pile of sticky notes. They must go back in the text and pull out the answer record it in "note form" on their sticky note. Finally, they go back to their readers notebook and record in compete thoughts and sentences.

For my more visual learners, I was finding this approach difficult. So, I decided to write my own reading comprehension passages in which they could go back and highlight in different colors showing where they found their answers. 

As much as I hate New York State testing, it is a reality. These passages provide them with  a more authentic way of practicing "finding the answers" for the test as well.

I give my kiddos a bucket of colored markers and let them choose which color they'd like to use (always a treat)! They then proceed to use a different color to find text based evidence for each different question, labeling the highlighted portion with the corresponding question number. 

This also allows for teachable moments about only highlighting pertinent information as well as organizing their thoughts! Crucial skills as they get older!!

These Reading Comprehension Passages have revolutionized my teaching... If you're interested in some freebies... Click on the images below!

I am also giving away my BEST SELLING Reading Comprehension Passages Bundle Guided Reading Levels J-N to one lucky winner! Enter below to win!

Don't forget to check out all the other teachers that are sharing their own Smashing Strategies for Guided Reading! 

Paired Reading Passages

Common Core has mixed connotations in the world of education... regardless, it's a reality and it's important that we keep our students abreast on the standards given by the government. The district I work for is absolutely incredible... I cannot sing praises enough! One great PD they had us do as 2nd grade teachers was sit down with the 3rd grade teachers and figure out where the deficits were coming across the grade levels. In New York, state testing begins as early as 3rd grade.. BLAH! And unfortunately, it comes across as a large stress inducer for the poor little babes subjected to THE TEST. That being said, there were a few things that came to my attention that showed gaps in my teaching in 2nd grade... finding text based evidence (Instructional Shift #4 demanded from Common Core) was a big one and also integrating information from two texts and then writing about the subject knowledgeably (CCLS.ELA.RI.2.9, CCLS.ELA.RI.39, CCLS.ELA.RI.4.9). 

Oh boy... those are big ones! And I ABSOLUTELY DID NOT want to become one of those teachers that started teaching to the test. So I thought about how I could integrate these two DIFFICULT concepts into my 2nd grade classroom as authentically as possible... Then it came to me, Guided Reading! I love teaching reading and I often write my own guided reading passages and questions so that I can focus the short amount of time we have as much as possible. 

So that was the answer! I created passages that not only forced students to go back and look for text based evidence to answer questions, but also were paired fiction & non-fiction topics

My friends that really struggle with reading, were not quite developmentally ready for this undertaking of paired passages in second grade. However, my students reading as low as Level K were ready for the challenge! 

As I said, I started by creating a fiction and nonfiction passage about the same topic. Then created multiple choice and short response questions for each one. I then created short response questions that required information from both passages! Synthesizing is such a difficult but crucial skill for kids to learn! High up on that Bloom's Taxonomy, am I right?! 

At the higher levels (Fountas & Pinnell levels M, N & O), I also included a "pre-reading" component where kids would activate their prior knowledge for the nonfiction passages. They were required to make predictions for the fictional passages as well! 

To conclude, the kids were given a venn diagram to compare and contrast the two texts. This again triggers higher level thinking, and invites the kids back to do close reading and find text based evidence in both passages! Phew! Hard work! 

Have any other questions on this topic? Leave them in the comments section below! If not, how do you teach this difficult concept of paired passages to your little guys? I'd love to hear your ideas!